GERMANY: Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are the eyes and ears – and every other sense – of modern mobile devices. Bosch is using these tiny high-tech helpers to teach cars and modern electronic devices how to sense the world around them.
Originally developed for automotive electronics systems, these components can now be found in smartphones, laptop and tablet computers, games consoles, and sports watches. Many of the latest functions for cars and electronic devices – including the ESP® electronic stability program and the use of gestures rather than keys to operate smartphones – would be unthinkable without these highly sensitive measuring instruments.
Bosch supplies sensors for a wide range of applications in the consumer electronics and automotive industries. These sensors measure pressure, acceleration, rotary motion, mass flow, and the earth’s magnetic field. Bosch has been at the forefront of MEMS technology since it first emerged, and today it generates more sales in the extremely dynamic MEMS sensor market than any other supplier.
Since the start of production in 1995, the company has manufactured well in excess of three billion MEMS sensors, with production volumes hitting new highs year after year. It took Bosch 13 years to manufacture the first billion, another three years to reach two billion, and only a further 18 months to cross the three-billion mark. In 2012, some 600 million sensors emerged from its state-of-the-art wafer fab in Reutlingen – or 2.4 million each working day.
“It’s no longer possible to imagine automotive or consumer electronics without MEMS sensors. In the future, they will act as the eyes and ears for systems and objects connected via the internet of things and services,” says Klaus Meder, president of the Bosch Automotive Electronics division.